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Body washes and cleansers

Regular bathing is an important part of life in modern society, but human skin is sensitive to harsh cleansers. You wouldn’t want to use the same cleansers on your body as you do on your dishes, for example. The body washes and cleansers in this section are all gentle enough for regular use, but the exact product you choose should cater to your skin’s particular needs. From sensitive, dry skin to oily skin that’s prone to breakouts, it’s best to select a cleanser that’s designed with your skin in mind.

Choosing the right body wash

There are lots of product options in this section, and the filters on the left side of the page can help you narrow down results so you can focus on a smaller number of potential purchase options. You can focus on a specific brand that’s worked well for you in the past or click into a specific product type. Once you’ve made those choices, though, you’ll still have a lot to consider. Think about these criteria to guide yourself toward the ideal body wash for your needs.

Cleanser type: The products in this section come in two general types: liquid washes and bar soaps. Liquid washes are thinner and tend to lather more than bars. Bar soaps tend to come without extra packaging beyond the box they’re sold in, and washes are usually packaged in a bottle or other dispensing container that either features a pump or squeeze spout. This difference in packaging can be relevant if you share cleansers with other people — bar soap, when applied directly to your skin, can harbor bacteria on its surface. This isn't a concern with liquid cleansers that come in bottles.

Secondary benefits: Many of the products in this category offer secondary benefits beyond cleansing. Some body washes may include deodorant ingredients that provide a more powerful scent and help to mask body odor. Others may offer two-in-one cleansing for efficient showers with a formula that’s gentle on your skin and effective for your hair. Cleansers that use all-natural ingredients may be appealing if you're concerned with health and eco-friendliness. Certain cleansers may also offer stress relief or energizing benefits, mostly through the use of relaxing or invigorating scents such as lavender or citrus. These and other secondary benefits are typically mentioned in the product name, description or packaging, making it easy for you to understand what each specific cleanser is designed to address.

Scent and color: Both liquid washes and bar soaps are often dyed and scented to make the product more appealing. People with extremely sensitive skin may want to avoid products with scents and dyes, as these ingredients can irritate the skin. If you aren’t concerned about skin sensitivity, you can use scent as an important factor in your purchase decision. Some soaps are aimed specifically at men or women through the use of typically masculine or feminine scents. Product packaging and cleanser color can be indicative of scent type, with pink and purple colors tending to be more floral and sweeter than darker colors. The filters on the left side of the page include a gender option in case you want to avoid certain scents. This gender search option includes kids' cleanser filters as well, because adults may find products for kids to have unsuitable scents. Unisex cleansers and unscented cleansers are also an option.

Skincare or healthcare benefits: Some of the cleansers in this section are formulated to soothe or treat certain skincare or healthcare issues. For example, body washes may have special acne-fighting ingredients to reduce breakouts on your body. These soaps are formulated differently than facial cleansers, meaning they aren’t necessarily gentle enough for the delicate skin on your face. People suffering from other body skin conditions, including eczema, may also find specially formulated cleansers in this section. Other healthcare concerns, including muscle aches or stress, may also be addressed in this section. These cleansers aren’t medicated with prescription-strength ingredients, but they may help alleviate some symptoms.

Specialty cleansers: This product category includes a wide range of bath and shower cleansing products beyond body washes and soaps. Bubble baths and bath soaks are available in this section as well, and though these products typically aren’t designed for cleansing, they can either create suds or address skincare and healthcare issues as an accompaniment to soap.